staked-shoes-at-boot-hill-in-the-falkland-islands (Image: John5199)

Thanks to the ever-excellent Atlas Obscura, we now know that the wrecks of downed military aircraft aren’t the only objects to litter the rugged moorland of the Falkland Islands. This curious collection of shoes on stakes can be found at what has become known as Boot Hill, several miles outside Port Stanley on the road to the airport.

Nobody seems certain as to how or why the shoes, situated at the side of Darwin Road, first came to be there. And like all good local legends, there are several versions of the story. One suggests that retiring airport employees leave a boot behind when they leave their jobs.

Another has it that an unfortunate man, presumably while tramping across the rugged moorland, had his leg blown off by a landmine left over from the 1982 Falklands War between the UK and Argentina. Local lore holds that the man staked his redundant boot on the hilltop, and others soon followed as a gesture of sympathy.

The most commonly accepted explanation for Boot Hill, however, is more fanciful and certainly less grim. This one holds that the unusual collection of shoes were left behind either by visitors to Falklands, or islanders themselves as they depart the distant archipelago for a new lift elsewhere.

Atlas Obscura writes that “if you leave your own behind as your visit to the islands come to a close, you are meant to return.” In fact, Boot Hill isn’t the only unusual collection of redundant randomness we’ve encountered recently. Those who enjoy this sort of thing may also like the weird rocking horse graveyard near Lincoln, Massachusetts.